VW, still reeling from the diese-gate disaster a couple of years ago, really needed to make a splash. And a splash it did make with the ID Space Vizzion concept and the more earthly 2020 Atlas Cross Sport. The latter is a looker, with a sloping rear section not unlike the BMW X6 or the Cayenne from VW’s sister company, Porsche.
The new Corvette took center stage at Chevrolet. With a shark like front end (see below) and a rear end that wouldn’t look out of place on a Lambo, the blue Smurf colored convertible variant attracted more than its fair share of looks.
Yawnfest at Honda, Subaru: Nothing to see here, really. Honda touted its commitment to “green cars,” whereas Subaru had a national park kinda booth. The latter announced a special version of the WRX / STI, dubbed “Series White,” that will cost up to nearly $44,000 (for the STI version). Right. Kind of like how they sell you “Recaro” seats that look like office chairs as an optional paid upgrade. We’ll pass.
Sure, Hyundai and Kia are technically two separate car companies… but not really. The former unveiled the Vision T concept, which is a wicked looking cross over. The design language is aggressive with lots of angles. We likes. The latter introduced the 2020 Niro and the brand new 2021 Seltos. A smaller SUV with either an NA 2.0L or a 1.6L turbo I4, it should do well in a market looking for ever more SUV / cross over options.
Toyota for the Family: New for 2020… RAV4 Prime, new Highlander and a new Mirai (which we did not spot).
From BBC – The Silverstone Circuit has signed a 17-year deal (17 years??!! – Ed.) with Formula One to host the British Grand Prix. Silverstone was the host of the first Grand Prix championship in 1950, and since 1987, hosted every British Grand Prix in Formula One. Donington Park was supposed to be the new venue for the British Grand Prix this year beginning next year, but their finances fell through the floor.
From LA Times – OMG! Danica Patrick is in NASCAR. On Tuesday, Danica Patrick announced that she would drive in a “limited number” of races in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Danica’s IndyCar resume consists of 1 win, 3 poles, and 81 starts. Her first season was in 2005, and she finished 5th (best career finish) in 2009. Not bad for a 27 year old, but in my personal opinion, it’s better to be great at one thing, than so-so in many things.
From Reuters – Volkswagen is buying a 20% stake in Suzuki for $2.5 billion. This is not too long after Volkswagen just bought a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG. After this transaction, VW will have stake in 11 different car brands. VW’s goal is to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018. Toyota, we await for your rebuttal.
At first glance, the Volkswagen CC captured our attention. With its “4-door coupe” styling, it’s an attention-getter by all measures. Falling somewhere between the Passat and the defunct Phaeton in the VW lineup, the CC represents a bold and edgy entry into the mid-sized sedan market. Looks aside, however, we wanted to find out if the CC’s performance and driving impressions would live up to its aesthetic demeanor.
Incredibly high value for the money – For a mere $27,679 (with optional Bluetooth connectivity and rear curtain side air bags), you get a vehicle that’s built with German engineering; everything fits together with precision, high quality materials and utility
Leather everywhere – All seating surfaces & the steering wheel are wrapped in high quality leather; try finding the same level of quality in competitors at the same pricepoint
Upscale styling – Needless to say, the first vehicle the CC reminds you of is the upscale Mercedes CLS sedan; unlike its rather mundane and boring competitors, the CC offers awesome looks and styling that belies its low price of entry
Ample power – Under the hood of the CC, you’ll find the same peppy 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine you’d find in the VW GTI; although it’s not a rocket, it’s certainly more than enough power to deliver good standing and passing acceleration
Excellent gas mileage – With an estimated 21mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway, the turbocharged engine provides the benefits it should – power when needed, while delivering excellent efficiency when not on boost
Full array of safety features – Anti-Slip Regulation (traction control), Electronic Stability Program, Electronic Differential Lock and anti-lock brakes should keep any journey safe for all involved
With so much to like about the VW CC, what did we not like? There were two dimensions of the driving experience that lowered what would have been an excellent evaluation of the Vee Dub:
Sloppy shift mechanism – We specifically requested a manual version of the 2.0T, with “sporty” expectations… we were disappointed; the shift action is rubbery and throws were excessively long by our standards
Completely mute clutch action – With 99% of the cars we test, we can figure out the catch point on the clutch quite easily… this wasn’t the case with the CC; the catch point was so mute and the clutch pedal so soft, we hated dealing with the CC’s hydraulically actuated manual transmission within the first 5 miles of driving it
If you are considering the CC Sport, skip the manual tranny and opt for the automatic transmission with Tiptronic. Sure it costs a bit more and adds some additional weight to the car, but the standard manual transmission just doesn’t deliver enough to convince us. Equipped with the optional automatic transmission, we feel the CC Sport 2.0T will be a fine, capable daily driver / commuter with more than enough pizazz for nights out on the town or road trips with friends.